Freshly inaugurated Rick Perry thinks historians may call this the “Texas century.”
It certainly has been the decade of Perry.
The governor took the reins of the cow-herding state from President George W. Bush in 2000. On January 18, 2011, Perry, a Texas A&M grad, took his familiar oath of office for the fourth time.
The magnificent capitol building, accented with a maroon stage, stood as a backdrop for the event. The inauguration was a celebration for Texans on the grounds in Austin.
After all, despite tough times throughout the world, Texas has been relatively unhurt by the recession under Perry’s guidance.
“With bloated stimulus spending, record debt, massive entitlement programs, Washington has America on a collision course with bankruptcy. Now Texas – we’ve fared better than most other states,” he said. “While much has changed in the last four years, one thing hasn’t changed – the character, resilience the resourcefulness of our citizens.”
Perry emphasized cutting spending where possible.
“These tough times mean government doing more with less,” he said in his inaugural speech. “With our nation now mired in more than $14 trillion in debt, accountability and fiscal responsibility won’t come from Washington. It will come from places like Texas.”
The content of the speeches by Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was not only about the success of Texas and shrinking the state government. Much of the event was focused more on Washington than the Lone Star State. The Republican attendees cheered at jabs at the Obama administration and the “Washington way.”
“The only thing as outrageous as the amount of money Washington is borrowing from foreign creditors is the amount of money they withhold from states unless we comply with their edicts,” Dewhurst said in his address. “Washington has run roughshod over state sovereignty.”
Several thousand spectators, many vocally conservative, endured chilly weather to view the event. Texas flags stuck out in a sea of bundled bystanders.
“If some Democrats showed up, we could get some hot air,” an attendee said as chuckles rose from the packed crowd around her.
Linda Landrum, mother of UMHB junior theology/philosophy major Curtis Landrum was among the attendees of the event. She used to take her son to the capitol to lobby on educational issues.
“I think (Perry) is going to be a very positive influence for Texas for the next four years,” she said. “I happened to be in town, and I’ve never seen an inauguration. I’ve been to the Capitol many times but never seen this part. I couldn’t miss this event.”
Landrum wasn’t the only excited party at the ceremony. Local Boy Scout troops volunteered to help with some of the less glamorous jobs of the day.
Kyle Guckian, an Eagle Scout of Troop 365 in Round Rock, arrived at 6:30 a.m.
“We’ve set up all the signs and we got the bases. We set up the trashcans and are handing out the flyers,” he said. “It’s important to be here and to be involved. Rick Perry is our longest running governor. It’s … historic.”
The busy Scouts stopped all their activities when Perry stepped up to the podium. His speech was filled with optimism and hope, and the proud Texan crowd cheered vigorously for their elected official.